Garage Find: 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Some individuals would refer to GM’s 1958 designs as wretched excess. I wouldn’t go that far, but let’s just say chrome was in vogue in 1958 and the Corvette was no exception. While 1959 was similar but different for most GM cars, the Corvette went with a less is more theme as can be seen with this example, located in Yankton, South Dakota and found here on eBay with bidding currently at $29,100 (reserve not yet met) or a BIN of $34,900.

The biggest difference between the ’59 and the ’58 is the elimination of the two chrome “tusks” running the depth of the trunk lid and the removal of the fake hood louver. Beyond that, it remains pretty much unchanged from its predecessor.

Under the hood, there appears to be the standard Corvette engine for 1959, a 283 CI V8 developing 230 hp. The seller does claim that it is not the original engine, however, and would need to be “hooked up” to operate. This being the case, it’s hard to say what you’re getting here engine-wise though it was recently overhauled. What I find most interesting is the transmission, it is the standard three-speed manual which is rarely seen in a Corvette after the ’57 model year. Chevrolet started to use a Borg-Warner four-speed unit halfway through the ’57 model year but it really caught on by ’58 so seeing one in ’59 is a bit rare. The three-speed manual remained standard through the ’68 model year but was selected in ever decreasing numbers.

Looking at the interior, we see a tidy black either vinyl or leather covering. It looks slightly worn but is in nice shape overall. There are only two seats, two door-cards, the cockpit carpet and dash to consider but it all appears to be in nice, driver condition.

One nice addition to this Corvette is the removable hardtop which was an option on convertible models. It needs to be refinished but just having it is a nice option. The existing canvas top appears to be sound.

Underneath, we’re always looking for rust and corrosion (yeah, I know it’s a fiberglass car but the frame isn’t) but there is no evidence of anything other than minor surface rust and it appears to be minimal. Note the old school skinny tires!

I haven’t seen too many, if any Corvettes in this color, I think it’s an attractive shade of blue and it goes well with the white coves, white top and narrow white stripe tires. There are some minor dings and small fiberglass cracks appearing but that is typical on a Corvette of this vintage. This is a nice survivor/project but it appears that it’s going to take a bit of work to get it operational. What’s your thought, is it worth taking a chance on this mostly complete but non-running example?


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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Another one of these to tease and torment me. I like what I see and would love to have something like this. Unfortunately it’s way too far out of my budget to even consider it. Of course I could always luck out with the lottery and then it wouldn’t be a problem. I would take the guy’s word for it that the engine just needs to be hooked up and tried, however, I would also want to verify what is actually there. Having worked for a dealership and working on lots of GM products independently afterwards I’ve seen a lot of substitutions where the buyer wasn’t getting near what he was originally supposed to have. I’ve seen half a dozen Corvettes running Targetmaster/Goodwrench engines so I’m extremely suspicious…

    Like 7
    • Angrymike

      Agreed, I’ll probably never be in the market for this or one like it, but dang it it’s nice to dream. I’d find a 327, put on the heads I found at the marina I work at, and drive the heck out of it !

      Like 1
  2. Butch

    Nice one with lots of potential. I personally like the 58s best of this series of Vettes no won’t be in the market either unless I hit the lottery.

    Like 2
  3. Gaspumpchas

    You would think for 35 large the guy would get someone to get it running??? maybe he can sell as is?? Anyhoo, looks sweet otherwise, Giver a good going over and cruise. Good luck to the owner.

    Like 4
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Agree with Gaspump…….but flippers are out for as much as they can get !

    Like 2
    • triumph1954

      Darn flippers!!!

  5. JerryDeeWrench Member

    A great chance for some one to get a C1 at a good price. Cleaned it up new skins on it 377 with 5 speed what a ride.

    Like 3
  6. ccrvtt

    The rear 3/4 view of the ’58-’60 Corvette is one of, if not the best of any car ever made. That’s a fact and you can look it up.

    Lottery winner.

    Like 5
  7. jack hammer

    Kind of like an automotive J-LO.

    Like 3
    • Ken Tilly UK Member

      My vote would go to the Austin Healey 3000. When I was fed up with listening to the wife and kids of an evening, and looking for some peace and quiet, I would go out to the garage, find a gallon can, and sit on it just to look at the rear of my Healey for 5 or ten minutes. Petrolhead heaven for me.

      Like 10
      • ccrvtt

        Being British one would expect you to say that.

        Being American I would choose the Corvette.

        Being American I would be right. ;)

        Like 5
  8. gbvette62

    Personally I prefer the 56-57’s and 61-62’s over the 58-60’s, but this looks like it might not be a bad car, if it can be had for around it’s current bid of $29,999. Chances are if it goes any higher, I’m guessing it will become the basis for someone’s restomod project.

    The 3 speed is not all the rare in a 59, more than a third of all 59’s, or about 3600 of them, came with the base 3 speed. It wasn’t until 62, when buyers started to really shy away from the 3 speed, but still a little more than 10 percent of 62’s came with a the base 3 speed. Also, the 3 speed remained the base transmission through 1969, not 68.

    Like 5
    • Jim ODonnell


      Thank you for the clarifications.

      Like 1
  9. ken tillyUK Member

    @ ccrvtt. Being an American doesn’t make you right, much as you all would like to think so.

    Like 5
    • ccrvtt

      The last time I was in England I enjoyed myself tremendously. Great people and makers of history. I worried about being an ugly American.

      But then I remembered Jeremy Clarkson.

  10. Bill Black

    Probably a little (meaning a lot) rich for my blood right now, especially not running, but the seller does get high marks for actually showing some of the frame. Somebody is going to buy this one…

  11. bobhess bobhess Member

    These days it seem neither the Brits or the Americans are getting much right at all…. This series of Corvettes all looked good and were a good size for a big engined sports car. I remember seeing only one this color and that was several years ago. Keep the sell price down to earth and it looks like it could be a good car again.Ccrvtt… What happened to your right eye?

    Like 1
    • ccrvtt

      A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

      Like 1
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member


  12. TimM

    I don’t know if I’ll ever own one of these!! They are priced way out of reach even the basket cases!! This one is a very nice color!! One you don’t see much!!!

  13. Clay Bryant

    If you’re going to “row your boat”, you get done rowing faster in a 3 speed. You would be surprised how few casual lookers even notice that. Been there, done that.

    Like 2
  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Oct 13, 2019 , 6:01PM
    Winning bid:US $33,100.00
    [ 23 bids ]

  15. chrlsfu

    same here ’56-’60 due to the rear 1/4.

    “33K$” seems OK…I could do for less (15 – 25k$?) w/just the frame’n body if I had the BlueFlame6 & some GM 5 speed…

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